Date published: Thursday 2nd January 2020 10:53
Chris Wilder admitted his Sheffield Utd side were “well beaten” by the relentless pressure and control of Liverpool, and pinpointed the numerous key areas in which Jurgen Klopp’s men decided the encounter.
With the reverse fixture a cagey affair only being decided by an unfortunate late Dean Henderson error, hopes were high that the Blades could come to Anfield and achieve a positive result.
It took just four minutes for the weight of Liverpool’s might to fall on the men from Yorkshire, however, when Egyptian forward Mohammed Salah opened the scoring after a decisive George Baldock slip in the build-up.
From that moment on, Liverpool never looked back and asserted their dominance on the match, strangling the life out of any potential United comeback.
Speaking to the BBC following the match, Blades boss Wilder said: “Little bit drained. Disappointed in our performance tonight, we never laid a glove on them.
“If there’s ever an example of a team doing well and with the desire, that’s Liverpool.
“The first balls, second balls, running forward, tackling, defending, being aggressive; they [Liverpool] showed all those qualities.
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“It’s a great example for our team. We were off pace today. Maybe the Manchester City game took more out of them than I expected.
“I think our goalkeeper kept us in the game. For us to get anything, we would have had to perform really well and we didn’t.
“Every time we tried to press they played around us with the quality they have got. All the stuff that gets talked about in academies, with young coaches – just look at what they did tonight in terms of the basic stuff that gives you an opportunity to play and dominate.
“That’s what they did to us. Not only technically, but tactically, they are a fantastic side. We have been well beaten tonight.
“People talk about us having afternoons and nights like this when we came to the Premier League. We have not had that done to us all season until now so that’s a small comfort.
“But it still hurts, we are still professionals. I believe if we played near our best we could have got something but we weren’t anywhere near it.”
The manner of control under which Sheffield United suffered manifested itself in the gargantuan number of passes Liverpool attempted.
The Reds achieved a whopping 969 attempted passes (874 successful) during the encounter – a new club record in the Premier League.